In developing this procedure the University had regard to the provisions of section 40B(1)(b) of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).
Working from Home Procedure
This procedure supports the Flexible Work Policy of the University of Canberra.
This procedure focuses specifically on a change in work location, within the Flexible Work Policy, collectively referred to hereafter as “Working from Home”. Other flexible workplace initiatives are managed separately under the Flexible Work Policy and in consideration of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and University Enterprise Agreement, as updated from time to time.
This Procedure fairly balances the needs of the University as a service provider and employer, whilst recognising the gains to work-life balance and productivity that have been achieved by staff Working from Home.
Work, Health and Safety considerations are paramount to determining suitable Working from Home arrangements. Both staff and their managers must be aware of the requirement to comply with Work Health and Safety policies, including ergonomic and safe workspaces and reporting of any safety issues or concerns.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (the Act) defines a workplace as: "A place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work."
Any location from which University work is performed is therefore considered a “workplace” for the purposes of the Act, and its provisions will apply to any Working from Home arrangement.
The work health and safety duties and responsibilities of both the University and its workers will apply equally to campus-based workplaces (University Premises), working from home and working from other (non-campus-based) locations (collectively referred to hereafter as “working from home”)
All terms and conditions of employment, university statutes, rules, policies, procedures and local instructions of Employees continue to apply for any Working from Home arrangement.
This Procedure will be in place until 31 December 2022.
As part of the University’s commitment to a flexible workforce, Employees have the opportunity to utilise Working from Home arrangements. This document details the procedures for staff requesting Working from Home arrangements and provides Principles to inform management decisions/response to those requests.
The University recognises that Employees in some circumstances have a right to request a flexible work arrangement under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This may include Employees who are carers, Employees with a disability, experiencing family and domestic violence or personal injuries. This document excludes the management these arrangements, as these are managed separately and under special arrangement with the Employee.
This Procedure excludes remote working arrangements.
The University is not responsible for any liability on the part of a third party who is not a University of Canberra employee at the Working from Home location.
While the University does not normally require Employees to Work from Home, it does recognise that there are occasions when circumstances may make such an arrangement convenient and beneficial for employees.
The University recognises the importance and derived benefits of Working from Home arrangements. The University is committed to supporting employee wellbeing and attracting and retaining a productive and highly skilled workforce, whilst balancing the need to maintain a strong team-based culture on campus.
The University is known for its vibrant campus life, created through events, retail and facilities that contribute to the positive student and staff experience. This connection to campus is important and is best achieved through a level of campus presence.
The University acknowledges that it is not always appropriate or practical for an Employee to carry out their duties in a Working from Home arrangement. Working from Home arrangements must consider the duties of the individual and may be refused on reasonable business grounds.
The University recognises there are challenges of working only remotely for some staff, which may include social isolation, poor time management, inability to ‘switch off’, and communication and coordination challenges.
The University recognises the need to ensure university facilities remain as flexible as our workforce and may change assigned workspace arrangements where an employee moves to an approved Working from Home arrangement.
As part of the University's commitment to a flexible workforce, employees have the opportunity to apply to work from home in accordance with these Procedures to apply for up to two days per week Working from Home for full time Employees and pro rata for part time Employees.
The University recognises that an approved Working from Home arrangement may be subject to short term adjustments as approved by the Manager.
Working from Home arrangements are not an automatic entitlement and may be approved in accordance with these procedures.
The University is committed to ensuring a safe workplace for all Employees and others, including those that work from home.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (the Act) defines a workplace as:A place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.
Any location from which University work is performed is therefore considered a “workplace” for the purposes of the Act, and its provisions will apply to any Working from Home arrangement. As such, the work health and safety duties and responsibilities of both the University and its workers will apply equally to campus-based (University Premises) workplaces, working from home and working from other (non-campus-based) locations.
Applying for a Working from Home arrangement
An Employee who wishes to apply for to Work from Home should in the first instance discuss this informally with their Manager. Following this discussion, the Employee should submit the following as a formal request to their Manager for consideration:
The pattern of work to be worked from home (e.g. Every Thursday, every second Tuesday);
The mechanism(s) for notifying any absences; and
The mechanism(s) for monitoring output.
Once approved, the Flexible Work Arrangement remains in place until it expires, noting that approval is for a maximum end period of 31 December 2022.
Assessing a proposed Working from Home arrangement
When determining whether to accept an application for Working from Home from an Employee, a Manager should consider the following with the Principles of the Procedure:
Whether the Working from Home arrangement will be productive having consideration for the nature of the Employee’s duties, the operational requirements of the business unit, the Employees performance and any supervisory responsibilities;
Whether the Working from Home arrangement will impede working relationships and team building within the business unit;
The proposed proportion of time to be spent at the Working from Home location and University Premises;
The ability for the University and Employee to comply with respective Work Health and Safety responsibilities;
The suitability of the Working from Home location (including confirmation the Employee has suitable internet, security arrangements for document management, communication arrangements etc.); and
Any other factors identified by the Employee.
Assessing a Working from Home Safety Checklist
When determining whether to accept an application for Working from Home from an Employee, a Manager should ensure the Working from Home Safety Checklist is complied with before a Working from Home arrangement is approved, ensuring:
the duties are suitable for Working from Home;
the proposed working environment is healthy and safe and that the person undertaking Working from Home has the information and training necessary to conduct the work safely; and
hours of work and communication procedures are agreed.
A completed Working from Home Safety Checklist means the Employee has declared the Working from Home location is suitable to conduct the employment activities of the Employee and the Manager has agreed with the declaration.
Each proposed Working from Home arrangement will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It should not be assumed that a Working from Home arrangement will be approved.
Accepting a Proposal
If the Manager is satisfied that the proposed Working from Home arrangement:
aligns to the Principles of the Procedure;
supports the outcomes of and considers the business unit and employee; and
can be conducted in a safe manner.
Then the Manager may approve the Working from Home arrangement by signing the Flexible Work Agreement and the Working from Home Safety Checklist.
Recording the Working from Home Arrangement
All approved Flexible Work Agreements and Working from Home Safety Checklists must be recorded and uploaded within the Employees Performance and Development Plan 2022 under the About Me tab.
Declining a Proposal
If the Manager is not satisfied that the proposed Working from Home arrangement meets the above criteria for Working from Home. The Manager may elect to negotiate suitable terms for the proposed Working from Home arrangement that may be more suitable for the business area or decline the proposal.
Should the Manager decline the proposal, the Manager must advise the Employee of the reasons. It is recommended that Managers discuss with their People and Diversity Business Partner before formally declining the Working from Home arrangement.
Employees Working from Home are covered by the same principles of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) that apply to employees working on University Premises.Incident Reporting
If an Employee has an accident or sustains an injury whilst Working from Home, they must report the incident to their Manager and via the online Incident Report Form as soon as practicable, and within 12 hours.
Employees should be aware that Working from Home may not be appropriate for rehabilitation and return to work cases following an injury.
Monitoring the Effectiveness and Reviewing a Working from Home Arrangement
An approved Working from Home Arrangement should be monitored and regularly discussed by the Employee and their Manager to ensure it is achieving the outcomes of both the Employee and the University. This will assist in early identification and prompt resolution of any issues that may arise from the arrangement.
A Working from Home arrangement must be reviewed if there are changes to the Working from Home arrangement.
If the Working from Home arrangement is not functioning as intended and the issues cannot be rectified through monitoring discussions, the Manager or Employee may terminate the Working from Home Arrangement by providing the other party with at least two weeks written notice.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Manager and Employee are encouraged to meet regularly to discuss Working from Home arrangements to ensure it continues to meet the needs of both the Employee and University.
Managers are responsible for effectively managing the team while in a Working from Home arrangement. This may include:
ensuring employees Working from Home are included in onsite activities by other means where appropriate (e.g. Microsoft Teams);
maintaining regular contact;
ensuring employees are not disadvantaged; and
setting and documenting performance expectations via the Performance Development Plan.
Employees are required to perform and participate at the same standards expected as all other Employees working on University Premises.
Employees are required to cover any costs to ensure their Working from Home location is safe and meets the requirements outlined by the Working from Home Safety Checklist.
The cost of any equipment such as home office furniture are personal employee expenses. The University will not reimburse Employees for these items.
The University provides every staff member with a safe working space on University Premises, including ergonomic equipment. Where a Working from Home arrangement is in place and the Employee requires specific work health and safety equipment, it is the Employee’s responsibility to ensure they provide their own equipment that supports the adjustment and advises the University when completing the Working from Home Safety Checklist.
Employees are responsible for ensuring that a reliable and functional internet connection is available to conduct their work effectively and are responsible for all internet costs.
There will be occasions where attendance is required on University Premises on a day that an Employee might normally work from home. It is expected that Employees will make themselves available to work on University Premises in such circumstances.
An Employee must adhere to any cybersecurity requirements of the University, including use of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and password protection to ensure University information and data cannot be accessed. This is especially important for employees with access to research data, intellectual property and confidential information covered by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) or other relevant legislation.
Governing Policy and Legislation:
Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT)
Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT)
Charter of Conduct and Values
Flexible Working Policy
Flexible Work Agreement
Working from Home Safety Checklist
Means all persons who are employed by the University.
The direct manager of the employment position.
Reasonable Business Grounds
Consideration that the change would result in a loss of productivity, requires impacts to other employees that cannot be changed to accommodate the request or have a negative impact on service provision.
Reasonable business grounds for refusing a request for flexible working arrangements include but are not limited to:
there is no capacity to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee
it would be impractical to change the working arrangements of other employees, or recruit new employees, to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee
the new working arrangements requested by the employee would be likely to result in significant loss of efficiency or productivity
the new working arrangement would impact the ability of the individual to conduct the duties of their position
the new working arrangements requested by the employee would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service or student experience
means any of the following:
land owned or occupied by the University, including buildings on that land and including land owned or occupied by a Third Party Provider;
facilities provided or owned by the University or a Third Party Provider;
a University Student Residence; or
land owned, occupied or identified in a Third Party Provider agreement or other agreement including an exchange program, licensing or collaboration agreement or any replacement campus agreed in writing between the University and a Third Party Provider.
Working from Home Arrangement
A blended arrangement whereby an employee works from the University Premises and another location, generally their home address.